KARACHI: In spite of the uncertainty about the future of Pakistan football because of the Supreme Court-ordered elections and world football governing body’s (FIFA) stance that it may impose sanctions, Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) was scheduled to send the national team to Qatar last night (Monday) from Karachi.
During a couple of weeks tour, Pakistan are expected to play a few friendlies against foreign nations who are scheduled to converge on Doha to prepare for the next month’s AFC Asian Cup to be held in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The Brazilian coach Jose Antonio Nogueira has finalised a 30-member squad with mostly those players who either have been tested in international circuit during the last few months or those who have been picked from the National Challenge Cup held earlier this year.
The squad also carries a bunch of foreign-based players who played against Palestine in the international friendly last month in Al-Ram which Pakistan lost 1-2.The team was scheduled to move to Doha silently as the PFF issued no press release about the team’s departure. The federation also did not provide the 30-member list to media.
The officials of the PFF and Pakistan team management also did not cooperate with this correspondent when they were contacted. They did not reveal any information about the team’s departure.
The sources said that the players were getting ready for departure. “I just came from a departmental team hotel and I saw that the players were preparing to go to Jinnah International Airport Karachi for departure for Doha,” a highly credible source told ‘The News’.
Former Pakistan coach Nasir Ismail said that the top-ranked players of the ongoing league had been ignored. “Top players of the Premier League such as Sher Ali, Murtaza, Iftikhar and Ansar Abbas have been ignored. Those who sit on benches in the league have been selected,” Nasir told ‘The News’ here on Monday.
He said there was no need for such a tour with the uncertainty about the country’s football future. “Elections of PFF are going to be held, so it’s not a good time to send the team and spend millions of rupees,” Nasir pointed out.
The PFF elections will be held on December 12 in Islamabad.Squad: Goalkeepers: Saqib Hanif (SSGC), Abdul Basit (WAPDA), Ahsanullah (SSGC), Mohammad Faheem (Muslim FC)
Defenders: Umar Hayat (WAPDA), Arslan Ali (KRL), Naved Ahmed (Navy), Zeeshan Rehman (Southern, Hong Kong), Mehdi Hasan (PAF), Ali Khan Niazi (K-Electric), Waseem Asghar (PCAA), Mohammad Bilal (WAPDA), Abdullah Qazi (USA), Umair Ali (KRL)
Midfielders: Mehmood Khan (SSGC), Saddam Hussain (SSGC), Navid Rehman (Canada), Adnan Yaqoob (Lyngby Boldklub, Denmark), Zain-ul-Aabdeen Ishaq (PCAA), Rajab Ali (KRL), Zaid Umar (KRL), Ali Uzair (WAPDA), Habib-ur-Rehman (SSGC), Mohammad Riaz (K-Electric)
Strikers: Hassan Bashir (AB Taarnby, Denmark), Raziq (SSGC), Mohammad Ali (FK Odsherred, Denmark), Mansoor Khan (PAF), Yousuf Ahmed (KRL), Ahmed Faheem (WAPDA).